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First Name: Steven

Last Name: White


Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Angelo

Date of Birth: 18 September 1928

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1952-1985
Steven Angelo White

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Steven Angelo White

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Steven Angelo White was born on 18 September 1928.

In 1946, White graduated from Verdugo Hills High School. Afterward, he went to Occidental College. He studied there for two years before changing to the University of Southern California in Naval ROTC. While there, he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in International Law.

Naval Career

In 1952, White graduated from USC and, as a member of NROTC, was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. White served on the USS Manchester (CL-83) in the Korean War. A year and a half later, he was moved to Submarine School and promoted to Lieutenant (J.G.) shortly afterward. Post-graduation, he was the Engineering Officer on the USS Tang (SS-563) for two years. He underwent Nuclear Power Training, and, after its completion, went aboard the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the first nuclear-powered submarine. He was part of the Nautilus's crew when it reached the North Pole; the first ship to ever do so. Due to this remarkable achievement, White, his fellow crew, and the ship were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. This was the first time the award was given during peace time.

In 1960, White was assigned to the USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608), where he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. He was aboard the boat when it conducted the Christmas Island Test, the first and only fully operational test of a submarine launching a strategic missile with a warhead.

From 1964-66, White was the Force Nuclear Power Training Officer, at first for Deputy Commander Submarine Force, and later for Commander Submarine Force for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In 1966, White became a Commander and led the nuclear submarine USS Pargo (SSN-650) five months later. While in that position, the ship received two awards - Meritorious Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation.

From 1969-70, White led Submarine Division One Hundred Two. For a few months, he was also leader of Submarine Division One Hundred One. He was an Assistant for Training and Personnel Matters for almost two years and, during that assignment, was promoted to Captain. He led Submarine Squadron Sixteen for two years in Rota, Spain. Following the completion of that duty, he was promoted to Rear Admiral. He was also Deputy Chief of Material (Operations and Logistics), and later Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Submarine Warfare) for another two years. In 1980, White was promoted to Vice Admiral and assigned as Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

On 1 August 1983, he was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and transferred to Washington to become Chief of Navy Material. This put him in charge of the Navy's $30 billion annual procurement budget, and sometimes brought him into conflict with Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. The office was abolished (in 1985) after he retired.

In Retirement

Shortly after leaving the Navy, White joined the engineering consultancy Stone & Webster, and by December 1985 he had been offered a job restructuring the nuclear power division of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). (In 1985 the TVA had shut its five nuclear reactors because it was thought they would not meet Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety requirements -the TVA brought White in to turnaround the division.) The salary and hiring restrictions for TVA management personnel were unacceptable to White, so he was made a contract manager, paid indirectly through Stone & Webster (with a $355,200 annual salary that made him "the highest-paid worker in the federal government").

The General Accounting Office concluded that White's position, normally filled by a government employee, could not be paid in excess of $72,500, and that he could not do it while drawing a federal pension. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics said in June 1986 that White was breaking federal conflict of interest laws, by hiring employees of his own employer and (in some cases) granting a 10% administrative fee to a company that he had set up for contracts that he himself had awarded. In October 1986 Ron Wyden, then a House Oversight Committee member, called for White's resignation.

White said that, because he was a fixed-contract Stone & Webster employee, he neither violated federal pay agreements nor had an incentive to promote Stone & Webster staff, and that he was "pissed as hell" that one of his Stone & Webster hires into the TVA executive had written a memo recommending that "62%" of the remaining TVA nuclear division vacancies be filled by further Stone & Webster staff.

What we have here may look like a conflict, but the difference is my integrity

-Steven White, Fortune, October 1986

In November 1986 an independent counsel appointed by the TVA said that his actions were entirely legal, In January 1987, the Office of Government Ethics ruled that awarding contracts to a company in which he had a financial interest had violated Federal laws, but that a new $355,200 annual contract with Adm. White could be approved with new "ethics guidelines."

TVA is something I cannot turn my back on. If I don't go back, I feel I'd be letting some people down... If TVA is going to survive, then I believe that the nuclear program must survive

-Steven White, The Chattanooga Times

He remained head of the TVA nuclear program until November 1988, leaving with the agency's praise, despite conflict with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the accuracy of information he provided them (concerning the status of the TVA's nuclear plants) -charges that were dismissed. On 10 November 1988, the TVA's Sequoyah PWR Unit I resumed supplying nuclear power to the electrical grid.

After he left the TVA, White remained in demand for civilian plant management because of his independence, know-how, and aggressive leadership.

In 2004 he joined 120 other retired U.S. flag officers in signing an open letter that condemned John Kerry's vote against a funding bill for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He appeared at the 2004 Republican National Convention to endorse the re-election of president George Bush. He did not endorse McCain in the 2008 election.


Steve White is married to Mary Anne Landreau, who also graduated from Verdugo Hills High School. They have four daughters, three sons, thirty-five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 677   Created by: MHOH




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